The Reward of Obedience

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At New Day we often talk about wanting ‘more’ of God. What we mean is that we desire to know God better, to have more intimacy and passion for God. We want to taste and see his presence in our lives. And having more of God in our lives is an increase in the attributes of the Kingdom in our lives:  more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control.

Pursuing more of God is a movement that we make towards God. God is always good, and he is ready and willing to pour out another wave of his love into us. He is always ready to give us more of himself. But, how do we make this move? How do we open ourselves up to the more that the Father desires to give us?

We move towards more through obedience: obedience to the voice of God. In Genesis 22, Abraham is tested by God. Having previously given Abraham some incredible promises (see Gen. 15), God says, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love…and sacrifice him as a burnt offering” (22:2).

Abraham has a choice to make. Will he hold on to the thing he loves more than anything on the planet, or will he hold fast to God? Abraham chooses to trust God and is willing to do what was asked of him. At that moment an angel stops him and provides a replacement sacrifice, and the Lord says, “Because you have done this, I will surely bless you.”

I believe that Abraham could have said no and he would have still been loved by God and blessed to a certain level, but God was inviting him into the fullness of his destiny. He was inviting him into more.

You have a promise and a destiny as well. There is more available for you. You can stay where you are and receive the benefits of God in your current location. Or you can go deeper through obedience and step into the fullness of what is God inviting you into. What is the Father inviting you into? What is he asking you to sacrifice? What can you surrender so that you can receive more of him?

Why Church?

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Really, why church, anyway? Of all the ways that God could reach the world, He picks a group of mostly dysfunctional, often grumpy, imperfect, divided, self-obsessed, uptight, and otherwise messed up people!?! (Not New Day of course, we’re all perfect. I’m referring to the “other” churches ;-)

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. 1 Cor. 1:26-29.

Paul explains, “God's purpose in all this was to use the church to display His wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was His eternal plan, which He carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Eph 3:9-11

WOW. Do you see what God is telling us? We, the church, was His plan from the beginning. Some people say this isn’t talking about church as we know it, but the ideal church, or the first century church. Some think we’ve made such a mess of things, we are no longer qualified. God has given up on the church. What rubbish! The church was never perfect. Just like the Hebrew nation in the Old Testament. We are a work in progress. God designed it that way so that no one should ever be fooled into putting their faith or confidence in people. Our faith is in Jesus. But He is describes as “The head of the Church” Col 1:8. Anyone who wants Jesus without the church is worshipping a disembodied head… yuck. 

It’s a package deal folks. And that means every one of us gets to be part of Jesus’ body, the church, and fulfill the mysterious plan of God by communicating the gospel through broken clay vessels.